Phil HAS JUST ENTERED NEW HIGH SCHOOL & HAS DIFFICULTY MAKING FRIENDS. HE SEES THAT MOST POPULAR STUDENTS ARE INTERESTED IN OTHERS, HELPFUL & SHARE EXPERIENCES. HE TELLS ANOTHER BOY HOW TO FIX RADIO & SOON OTHERS FREQUENT HIS BASEMENT WORKSHOP.
Ken Smith sez: Dick York at his dorkiest. Dick's father is especially strange in this classic. The film that established Coronet as THE social guidance filmmaker. Required viewing.
the first film about "fitting in" (as opposed to following regmented rules of etiquette). Fitting in implies "going along with the crowd" not the crowd going along with adults.
"he applies the lessons he has learned through observation and becomes very popular" (very scientific)
"he comes to realize that helpfulness, interest in others, and a willingness to share experiences are important"
"Again as on a previous night, Bill's father descends the stairs...this time with a tray of Coca-Cola as treats for the group."
"the motion picture does permit students to identify themselves with charcaters in the picture and then begin their discussion...."
"The film does an excellent job of 'holding the mirror up to youth;' it avoids, in a highly commendable fashion, the effect of being staged."
If the "shy guy" were living in the Nineties, he'd be a hero. But hackers, geeks and bad grrls weren't too popular in 1947, and this movie's all about "fitting in."
ÒPhil,Ó played by Dick York, later to become famous as Darrin in the television program Bewitched, is the son of an apparently single father who seems recently to have undergone corporate relocation, and things are very different for Phil than they were Òback in Morristown.Ó Phil has a problem Òfitting in,Ó and it affects everything from the nature of the kids in the new town (ÒdifferentÓ) to what they wear (Ònot jackets like me, but a regular sweaterÓ). Armed only with confusing advice from his father, Phil has to reorganize his behavior and make a new home for himself. Moving is tough on kids, especially teenagers Ñ this is the same kind of story that kicked off the TV show 90210 and many others.
Since social guidance films (especially if produced by Coronet) generally have to resolve problems before the end credits, Phil becomes the toast of the classroom within fifteen minutes, after finding that the ÒgangÓ is eager to use his Òcombination record player and radio transmitterÓ at the next dance. And Dad looks pretty pleased.
Educational film authority Ken Smith points out that Shy Guy marks a kind of turning point in postwar history. When Mr. Norton advises Phil to "look around him" and see what the other kids are wearing and how they behave, he's conceding parental authority to the "gang" and, ultimately, helping to legitimize the formation of a distinct youth culture that rests on group identity and validation rather than the authority of elders. Such a youth culture probably has its roots in the wartime autonomy that teens experienced, but here the adults are okaying it. This change, of course, is one of the key social currents in postwar America, and can be traced to the social movements of the Sixties and Seventies.
ÒThe film does an excellent job of Ôholding the mirror up to youthÕ; it avoids, in a highly commendable fashion, the effect of being staged.Ó (Educational Screen, October 1947).
Coronet Instructional Films (founded 1939, now part of Paramount Communications' Simon & Schuster subsidiary) was one of the leading producers and distributors of educational films, selling one million prints of their productions by 1973. Many of the most interesting social guidance films were made at their Glenview, Illinois studios, frequently with nonprofessional actors chosen to provide realistic role models for American children. Dick York was, however, a professional, and appeared in over 150 educational, industrial, military and advertising films, including Combat Fatigue: Insomnia, A Brighter Day in Your Kitchen, How To Read a Book, and The Last Date. Besides Bewitched, he acted in movies and Broadway shows. Until his death in 1992, he resided in Rockford, Michigan.
MAKING FRIENDS SHYNESS PSYCHOLOGY GUIDANCE SOCIAL INTERACTION TEENAGERS STUDENTS RADIOS WORKSHOPS HOBBIES POPULARITY DICK YORK TRAY OF COKES
Subject: Not a Bad Life After All
Subject: Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes fame is the narrator.
Subject: simpler days
Subject: Still you can't forget that you're alone!
His father recommends picking out one or two of the popular kids to see what it is about them that makes them popular. What he finds is that they listen to each other, act polite, and seem genuinely interested in helping others.
As we observe Phil, we begin to understand that PHIL is the problem. When he bumps into someone, he says nothing. "There it is again, even when you bump into people they hardly know you're alive". Wah..wah..wah. Phil is steeped in self-pity with ideas that nobody is nice to him or will talk to him.
However as we watch, we notice that others do politely acknowledge Phil and even hold the door open for him at times. We notice he's invited to sit with Chick and his friends at the drugstore to join them in their discussion of the class mixer. We notice that at the class mixer, someone is actually talking to him but he isn't listening AT ALL because he's eavesdropping on another conversation he isn't a part of. That's not very polite especially after he has already determined that people flock around a good listener.
So what exactly IS Phil's problem? What is it that Phil really wants?
It appears he wants the crowd flocked around HIM at the mixer listening to HIM talk. He wants to have them gathered around HIM admiring HIS brains and HIS keen sweater. He wants them to know HE is alive by begging HIM to come to their parties.
Yes narrator, he may still have his moments of doubt and fear but as long as he can eavesdrop, take over a conversation he wasn't originally a party to, and use the record player as leverage, he'll be able to overcome his shyness and achieve total domination.
AND THAT'S THE MAIN THING, ISN'T IT?
The film's message is a good one about learning to listen, being respectful and helping others. Those are valuable tools for getting along with others in society and are worth repeating today. I just don't think Phil really got it because he failed to recognize all the opportunities that presented themselves throughout the film to socialize as an integral part of the group as a whole. He seemed to want more attention on himself rather than others.
Still a great film and very entertaining to watch!
Subject: Teenage Lee Harvey Oswald
Subject: Practical, timely advice
The father's advice is the same a psychologist friend of mine gives to shy people of all ages, kids and adults alike, and which I've given to my own (college-age) students who have wanted to make friends: Listen to others; take an interest in other people; offer to help.
There's nothing negative about the 'popular kids' here (unlike so many TV shows about toxic teens nowadays). These kids are popular because they like other people and reach out to them, listen to them and respect them - a good formula for anyone.
There's only one piece of advice missing: seek out a kid that also seems shy or friendless and make an effort to befriend him or her. Reaching out to someone else - especially another shy person who may also not know how to make friends - is one of the best ways to get over yourself and your shyness. As a naturally cripplingly shy person who has learned how to get along in any social situation, everything here makes sense. I only wish someone had told it to me before I was thirty.
This is actually a valuable video for parents to watch so they have some tips to help their shy children build the skills they need to function in a healthy, satisfying way in the company of others.
Subject: "Shy Guy" is well done
Many of the suggestions still hold true today.
Dick York was excellent, as was the entire supporting cast. Good direction, script, and photography.
Subject: Dick York Rules
Oh yeah, Dick York's ass looks huge in those pants.
Subject: Shyness Made Easy in less than 60 minutes...
Subject: Before he worked for McMahon & Tate...
Even at this tender age, young Dick knows how to act with his eyes. Of course this was way before he landed a job at McMahon & Tate and married Samantha. Oddly, I find it impossible to watch this without thinking of Dick York looking strangely like Jim Carrey or vice versa!
Subject: Gee Dad!
Dick York is Shy Guy! He's having trouble meeting kids at school, he'd rather play around with his electronics. His dad comes downstairs, having apparently left his mob meeting or singing at the copa, because he's impossibly overdressed here, to try to get Shyguy out of his shell! Wear more sweaters! Seek out the popular folk! Eavesdrop on people's conversations!
Soon Dick is doing that, and well, he's the hit of the School Mixer! Heck that would be easy if all there was were apples and people singing 'Oh Susannah".
Amelie Moment: Check out where the lockers are. What the hell?
Anyways, a MUST SEE on this site!
Subject: Welcome to Stepford
Subject: The Shy Guy
Subject: He was a shy boy, worked in the basement
On his dad's advice, Dick begins stalking the most popular kids in school, hoping to copy them. Actually, that isthe surest route to popularity I can think of.
Funny stuff, with some good advice about reaching out to others. Now Dick won't have to write manifestos and learn how to wire other things in the basement he calls home!
Subject: Shy Guy
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: *****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: *****. Also available on The Educational Archives, Vol. 2: Social Engineering 101, Mental Hygiene, and Our Secret Century, Vol. 3: The Behavior Offensive.
Subject: Shy Guy is an Absolute Classic
If my dad had told me that, I would have taken up drugs, engaged in casual sex and taught myself how to smoke at age 15. However, in this Dick York classic, his father's advice yields a number of desirable social lessons, including the art of listening, and how to be helpful.
Cheese abounds in this short, but the lessons are sound. Did you notice the narrator's voice yet? I'll give you a hint...you get exactly one hour to figure it out.